When the pandemic first happened, many faculty members adjusted their coursework to help students make sense of the world by looking at the COVID-19 crisis through a particular lens. Sometimes their lessons spanned a class or two. Other times they created entirely new courses in a matter of weeks.
Now that the pandemic has entered another academic year, that work is expanding on many campuses in new and different ways.
Once limited primarily to classes such as auto shop and construction, career and technical education programs have broadened in recent years to include courses designed to prepare students for higher education and jobs in fields like engineering and health care. They've also become more attractive to white and wealthy students.
CTE advocates have long had concerns—but little proof—about inequities that lie beneath the surface. New research now confirms deep racial divides.
Colleges have long collected academic-performance data such as retention and graduation rates. But the COVID-19 pandemic underscored how little many know about their students’ basic needs beyond the classroom—including their access to food, secure housing, child care, and transportation.
Amarillo College takes a different approach. Every semester, it asks students what they need in the way of food and shelter, among other basics. The personal approach has helped the institution nearly double its graduation and transfer rate.
North Carolina, once known for its agriculture and textile industries, has developed into a major science and biotech hub. That means skilled biotech workers are now in big demand.
The North Carolina Biotechnology Center (NCBiotech) is working with colleges and universities to help lessen the workforce gap and increase opportunities for those who might not have previously considered a biotech career.